Dear Community Members and Allies,
Everything The Center fights for is on the ballot this November. As a gay, immigrant father, I know there has never been a more important vote than the one we will cast on November 8. While The Center cannot endorse any candidate, we can encourage our community to get out and VOTE! We owe it to the leaders who have fought and continue to fight for our rights — Harvey Milk, Alan Turning, The Stonewall Rioters, members of ACT UP, the Human Rights Campaign and The Center’s staff and volunteers — to make our voice heard. Our community is loud and proud, and when we all vote, we have the power to affect the results of the election.
So what is at stake?
The Supreme Court — The person who becomes president will not only hold the most powerful job in the world for the next four to eight years, but the decision he or she makes in appointing the next Supreme Court Justices will have a much longer effect on our community. Currently, the court is evenly split at four conservative voting justices and four liberal. So, the next justice to join the court could tilt the balance either way and sway the court’s decisions to cases dealing with marriage equality and non-discrimination protection.
Transgender Rights — Transgender people still experience high levels of violence, discrimination and economic hardships. It is important to elect candidates who will protect and fight for them. Today, transgender people are barely protected by our federal laws and many states do not even recognize them as a protected class. At both the national and local level, there are candidates who support anti-transgender laws such as North Carolina’s HB2, which denies the right to use restrooms that match a person’s gender identity. It is important to support and defend this underrepresented sector of our community.
Discrimination — We need to support candidates who support the Equality Act, a bill introduced in the House of Representatives that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation. Today there are 32 states that do not have clear, fully-inclusive LGBTQ non-discrimination laws and there are candidates who strongly oppose the Equality Act arguing that the federal government cannot eliminate state-by-state discrimination.
Marriage Equality — While marriage equality is the law of the land, the new president could appoint justices to the Supreme Court who could potentially overturn Obergefell v. Hodges. If so, each state would once again have the right to uphold or deny marriage equality to their residents. We have come too far and have fought too hard to reverse this historical ruling.
Our vote will determine what kind of nation we will wake up to on November 9. I urge you to support candidates who support and fight for our community and for The Center’s mission. With over 10 million LGBTQ voters, we have the power to define our country’s future. When you go into the ballot box, vote with your conscience and think of members of our community who are still subjected to discrimination. Think of our trans friends who still experience violence and economic hardships simply because of their gender identity. Think of the rights that could be taken away from us because we did not mobilize and do more to elect people who will truly represent us.
It has been my absolute honor to serve as President of the Board of Directors of The Center over the last two years, and while The Center continues to grow and consistently serve more and more individuals in our community, now more than ever, we have everything at stake on the ballot. VOTE!
President of the Board of Directors of The Center